09/25/2009 4:41PM

Some weekend thoughts

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Some (junk?) food for thought on some of this weekend's stakes races:

Gallant Bloom (Belmont - Race 9):

A very good older filly, Indian Blessing, tackles a very good three-year-old filly in Sara Louise.  Obviously, neither would be a surprise, but they both will take a ton of money, and there are some question marks that each has to address.  Is Indian Blessing the same filly now that she was when she won this race last year?  Will Sara Louise regress off a career-best Beyer Speed Figure earned off an injury-induced long layoff? 
If you're interested in a longshot, you could do worse than Sky Haven.  This lightly-raced runner was bumped hard coming out of the gate in the Victory Ride, conceded valuable ground to Sara Louise early, and made up a little bit of ground in the lane.  I'm expecting her new jockey, Alan Garcia, will have her closer to the pace given an alert break, and she seems like a filly with a bit of upside.

Kentucky Cup Distaff (Turfway - Race 10):

Defending champ Bear Now returns to her favorite surface, but she hasn't won since last year's Kentucky Cup, and may be getting slightly long in the tooth at the tail-end of her five-year-old season.  She'll be bet because of her reputation, and can certainly win this race, but I'll look for some sharper runners. 
Whirlie Bertie looked good winning the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park in gate-to-wire fashion, and she's fast enough to obtain a nice forward position despite breaking from the far outside.  The main concern is her lack of synthetic form, but her solid race on turf two back gives me some hope that she'll handle this quirky polytrack surface.  The distance won't be a problem as she owns three wins between 8 1/2 and 9 furlongs. 

Kentucky Cup Sprint (Turfway - Race 12):

If Guam Typhoon gets bet, I'll take a stand against him.  He doesn't have any synthetic form, and I thought he raced on a golden rail when third to Blame (rail-skimming winner) in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga two back.  He got beat at 11-10 last time out when lacking a stretch kick. 
Hamazing Destiny also doesn't have any prior races on synthetic surfaces, but he looks to be going the right way for Wayne Lukas.  Although still eligible for a 'n2L' race, Hamazing Destiny will make the important third start of the form cycle, and has the tactical speed to sit a decent stalking trip while just off the leaders.  He did have every chance to pass Mesa Sunrise last time out at Saratoga, and didn't, but that race should set him up nicely for this.  He's worth a shot if allowed to drift a bit in the wagering.

Kentucky Cup Classic (Turfway - Race 13):

Hold Me Back looks like a slam dunk on paper, but he's facing older horses for the first time, and I thought he got a great trip in the Travers.  Allowed to relax behind a wicked pace up front, he picked up the collapsing pacesetters to finish a well-beaten second behind Summer Bird.  He does like synthetic surfaces, but will be bet through the ground, and maybe he'll regress off his fastest race ever. 
I do realize that Sligovitz is a reach, but he is very comfortable on synthetic going, and has faced some solid runners in recent starts up in Canada.  He only finished two lengths behind the classy veteran Sterwins two starts back, then was making up late ground on the in-form Ice Bear last time out.  Sligovitz, a confirmed stalker, should get the jump on Hold Me Back turning for home.

Maryland Million Sprint (Laurel - Race 9):

Here's a crazy horse for you.  Just Don exits a 'n4L' race at Penn National, is only 1-17 at this six-furlong distance, and will likely face other speeds in the early stages of the race.  If he was 5-2, I'd pitch him, but he'll be closer to 20-1 than 2-1.  He broke the track record at Penn National last time out, and I think he may be the speed of the speed. 
Not for Silver is the horse to beat, but I thought he took advantage of a ridiculously fast pace two back at Calder.  While I don't think he's as bad as his recent one-paced performance in the slop against Grade 1 runners at Saratoga, I don't think he's as good as that Carry Back line from Calder. 

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.

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Hi Dan, I enjoy your blog very much.  Would you be so kind as to post pps for some of my favorite turf horses: Waya, Manila, Ten Keys, and Paradise Creek?  Thanks so much!
ABZ

Here's what I have for these turf warriors:

Download TurfRunners

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Dan
Thanks for the pp's on Bar JF Hot Ticket. I guess being called "Mulish" may not be a bad thing afterall LOL!
SR Vegas

Not only is the "Hot Ticket" going for yet another win this afternoon in the first race at Fairplex, but she'll face younger full sister Bar JF Red Ticket (13-15 with two seconds), and older full sister Bar JF Winning Ticket (11-56 lifetime).  Would that make the dam, Holdalltickets, a "blue hen" mare?

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Anything stick out for either of you on Saturday's 2nd at Belmont. (It's 2yo turf maidens at Belmont) It's the first race of the twinspires.com satelite and I'm seeking the opinion who's got more of a clue on NY 2yos than I do (which is pretty much everyone!)
Stephen Taylor

I only gave the race a cursory glance, but Thundering Roar looks like the horse to beat off a good-trip second at Saratoga.  Holy Ego has a nice pedigree for turf, but trainer Gary Contessa has woeful numbers with first-turf runners.  I'd take a shot with Power Blast, a Linda Rice-trained colt that was caught three wide every step in his debut on closing day at the Spa.  That race was a two-turn route, and I think he's better suited to this shorter distance.  On dirt, I'd give Flying Valentine a look.

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Hi Dan first thank you for the time,can you post pp´s for sea the stars,thanks again take care.  
Marco
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Here's what I have for Europe's leading racehorse:

Download Sea the Stars

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DAN, now that the Saratoga meet is over, who could be this years BIG BROWN or PIONEEROF THE NILE.  You know, a horse that breaks their maiden in a 1 and 1/16 mile turf maiden race at Saratoga, then goes on to the "Derby Trail"
Captain Bodgit

He hasn't broken his maiden yet, but keep an eye out for Eskendereya, a son of Giant's Causeway out of Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew.  The $250,000 yearling finished a fast-closing second in his debut at the Spa, and while his pedigree is mostly turf, the third dam is a half-sister to 1974 Derby winner Cannonade. 

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Dan,
Does DRF have a break-down of stats for each type of synthetic surface or is everything lumped together under "synthetic"?
Laura

Unfortunately, the data is all grouped under the generic "synthetic."

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Congrats to Patrick for nosing out Mike V. via tiebreaker in this week's HandiGambling exercise.  He gets to select next week's race.

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Enjoy the weekend.

Dan